Both Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BERB) and the technical evaluation committee (TEC) of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) are of the same opinion that if the bulk supply tariff is not increased, it will not be required to raise the retail tariff of electricity.
This identical observation was made on the last of the four-day public hearing of the Berc at the TCB Auditorium on Tuesday.
It is mentionable that state-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) demanded a rise in bulk power tariff by Tk 0.20 per unit from Tk 0.85 to Tk 1.05 per unit.
Giving a detail description of the BREB plan to reach electricity to the doorsteps of cent percent people of the country’s rural area by 2020 which declared as the ‘Mujib Year’, its chairman Moin Uddin said so far 94 percent of the rural people have access to electricity.
He informed that about 2.78 crore consumers, out of total 3.58 crore across the country, are getting electricity from BERB connections through its 80 Palli Biduyt samity (PBS), rural power associations.
The BERB chairman also claimed that his organisation has been giving electricity connections to consumers within minutes of submission of their applications although the minimum government-set time is seven days.
Refuting any allegation of corruption or bribery against BERB staff, he said many staff had to leave the organisation facing punishment when they were found guilty.
Evaluating the balance sheet of the BERB and its submission for raising retail supply tariff, the Berc evaluation committee also came up with the observation that the rural supply utility does not need to raise the tariff if bulk tariff is not raised.
While making its presentation in the second session of the hearing, West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd (WZPDC) said it needs to increase the retail tariff as huge projects were undertaken by the company to improve and expand electricity supply to its area mainly in northern region.
WZPDC managing director Shafiqur Rahan, making the presentation, said if the bulk power tariff is raised, it will further affect its retail tariff.
Taking part in the discussion, different consumer rights groups and political party leaders opposed the WZPDC’s proposal.
In his concluding remarks, Berc chairman Monowar Islam urged the parties and consumer rights groups to submit their additional proposals if there is any to the commission by December 8.
As per the Berc Act, the regulator will announce its decision within 90 days after conclusion of the hearing process.
Berc other members were present during the hearing.